It seems like an absolute lifetime ago now that I was taking my driving lessons and learning how to drive. It’s one of those things that really makes you step back and realise how quickly time is going! As with most teenagers in the UK, I started learning to drive when I was 17, my lessons kindly being a birthday present from my parents. Although I’m heavily into Motorsport and cars now, I wasn’t at the time – driving what just something I wanted to do because I wanted my independence as an 18 year old and learning to drive was the next logical step.
But it wasn’t entirely simple and easy for me. I signed up for lessons with this one company and my instructor was awful. Like, really awful. He would shout, actually shout, at me when I did something wrong, you know completely overlooking the fact that I’m a 17 year old with 3 driving lessons under my belt but he seemed to expect Lewis Hamilton style manoeuvres. I quickly got the heck out of there and found a new instructor who had been recommended to me by some girls in my school.
So I was back to square one and started my lessons from scratch with this new instructor who thankfully, was nice and patient and I went on to pass my test with him. It did take me 3 times to pass my test due to a few hiccups in the first two. The first failure was a funny old one because not only did I have the examiner in my car but I also had a senior examiner sitting in the back, who was there to basically monitor the examiner. Looking back now, I don’t know why I didn’t object to it because it was him distracting me (not intentionally) that caused me to fail.
So finally, during test number 3 I passed, with only 2 minors. I then went on to do Pass Plus and on paper, I was the perfect driver! I got myself a little mint green Ford KA which I absolutely loved and miss dearly (even though it had no air con and no CD player!) I definitely had a few silly incidences during my first year or so driving, such as reversing into the hedge at the end of my road and over-shooting the turning and knocking my wheel rim off by skimming a bollard. But I’m still here in one piece and that’s all that matters!
Unfortunately, after I developed severe Generalised Anxiety Disorder, driving was one of the things that really suffered. I tried to get back into driving but it was difficult; it made me incredibly anxious and I even had a few panic attacks whilst behind the wheel which I’m aware is super dangerous. I kept trying and trying but then my beloved KA didn’t pass it’s MOT so I was left with no car, so learning to re-drive was put on hold.
Although I could quite easily be put on my parents car insurance and drive their car now, it would still require a lot of practice. Not only because I haven’t driven in years but also because their cars are automatics whereas I’m only used to a manual so I’d have to get used to that too on top of managing my anxiety. It does make me really sad that I don’t drive at the moment even though I have a perfectly good licence sitting in my purse. And although I work from home and don’t really need to drive anywhere, it’d still be nice to have the option to jump in the car and pop to the shop or pick my boyfriend up from work.
Driving is a big part of people’s lives so I think it’s important to talk about the good and the bad elements of it, right from starting your lessons all the way until you’re an experienced driver and not pretend like once you pass your test, that’s it, you’re free and independent and you won’t have a care in the world because you can now drive. That’s very much how my life was for a while, until all of a sudden it wasn’t. But driving is something I’d love to start working on again soon; getting practice in an automatic and then gradually doing small journeys.
What was your experience like when you learnt to drive?
Summer is a great time to be driving too or even if you don’t drive yourself, going on road trips or journeys to the beach or the forest with someone that does! Crank that air con up, press play on your favorite tracks and stock up on snacks and you’ve got yourself the perfect road trip! Discover more Summer driving tips at Auto Protect*
* This is a collaborative post